AUSTIN (KXAN) - The Austin Humane Society is encouraging pet owners to take some precautions before the fireworks go off this Fourth of July.
Fireworks explosions can present great stress to pets, particularly dogs, the humane society said, and shelters end up seeing the largest number of lost pets on July 5.
To prevent people from losing their pets this holiday, the humane society suggests trying out the following tips to keep your animals safe and calm:
Never use fireworks around pets. Exposure to active fireworks can result in burns and trauma to the face and paws of curious pets. Unlit fireworks are dangerous as well. Many types contain potentially toxic substances, including potassium nitrate, arsenic and other heavy metals.
Keep all pets safely indoors when fireworks are set off. Resist the urge to take your pet to a crowded gathering. It's best to leave them safely indoors, preferably with a radio or TV turned on to dampen loud, jarring noises. Outdoor pets should be brought inside as an extra measure of safety.
Give your dog a collar and ID tag. Frightened indoor animals can take desperate measures to escape the noise, such as breaking through windows or screen doors. By giving your pet a proper ID tag, you can help get your pet home safely. Microchipped pets are 200 percent more likely to be reunited with their owners. The Austin Animal Center offers pet microchipping for free.
Create a safe place. This must be a safe location from the dog's perspective. Notice where it goes or tries to go when frightened. If possible, give it access to that place. Consider using a fan or radio near the spot to help block out the sound.
Distract your pet. When your pet becomes anxious, encourage it to engage in any activity that captures its attention and distracts it from behaving fearfully. Get out the tennis ball, play fetch in an escape-proof area, practice familiar commands and reward them with praise and treats.
If you find a lost pet this holiday, help them find their way back home by taking them to the address on their tag. If they don't have a tag, Austin residents can call the Austin Animal Center by dialing 311 and Williamson County Residents can call the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter at 512-943-3322.
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